Adapt in Business and Family

Office Work

The office uptown was nice while it lasted, but we have to adapt.

I moved my business operations home on Thursday. I couldn’t justify the rent of a plushy office in town. Times are tight in this economy, and like most families, we need to adapt.

I’ve been self-employed since 2005. It has been an adventure (read more about our business). We were poorest in 2005, but we had increased sales in 2006 and 2007. At the rate we were going, we expected to be in 6-digit territory by now. Then the recession hit. Sales dropped in 2009 and again in 2010. At the end of December, Wendy and I looked at the numbers and had to make adjustments.

The biggest expense on our list is rent. For nearly four years we rented a nice office in a church in town. We had excess rooms that weren’t being used during the week. It was a place to keep our camp supplies and even host events.

Everyone is tightening their belts. The story is the same for all nonprofit ministries and small businesses. So, we have no choice but to do the same.

This reminds me of a principle of good business: adaptation. I’ve come across business managers who resist change. Even in good times they’re frustrated. The economic reality is just that: reality. We go with it. We make things work out. We adapt.

We have a small home — 2200 square feet — only four bedrooms to fit our 13 children. The kids were all in on the adjustment — rearranging furniture, throwing out unneeded items, converting our guest room into a small office. We officially moved our last items yesterday, but we’ve been working on this for about a week now.

Instead of driving to the office every morning, I’ll walk downstairs. Instead of packing a lunch, I’ll walk back upstairs. The girls (Cynthia and Lydia work for the business) have their desk in their bedroom. They like their new little cubby hole.

Yesterday morning was the first morning at home. Havilah walked into the office. This worries me a little, the 5-year-old walking in when I’m trying to get work done. A rule to leave Dad alone will have to eventually be made, but I didn’t send her away yesterday. I let her sit in my lap while I called a debate coach in California. Havilah sat quietly while I carried on the short 3-4 minute conversation.

I hung up the phone. “I love you, daddy,” Havilah said, snuggled perfectly in my lap.

I think I’m going to like this change.

About Chris Jeub

Chris is the father of 16 children, busily running the family businesses and learning the depths of love along the way.

  • http://Www.losingtheworld.com Evan Brammer | Losing the World

    One thing to consider is buidling a tiny house. Check out tinyhouseblog.com. One idea we’ve had is to build a tiny free house using materials that people give away on craigslist. An office in the backyard perhaps?

    • http://www.jeubfamily.com Chris Jeub

      This is a great idea, Evan. We’ve kicked around the idea of building an exterior building, and the money we just freed up from rent could be applied to such a project. Thanks for the links, too!

  • Amy P in Hayden, CO

    A giant, “aaaaaawwww” is in order. My husband has his office in our garage and we all love it!

    • http://www.jeubfamily.com Chris Jeub

      I laughed. Our office is actually built into our old garage. =)

      • Amy P in Hayden, CO

        That is funny and sure evidence that God has a sense of humor.

  • http://www.themorristribe.com Kelly Morris

    The trend has been for small businesses to ‘come home’. We are small business owners as well and rent/payroll is always at the top of the list to keep things rolling.

    I like the previous comment about building a small outbuilding for you, Dad needs some space to do business.

    • http://www.jeubfamily.com Chris Jeub

      I’m all over the outbuilding idea. That will likely be a future post: “Jeubs Build Detached Office.”

  • Bea

    Your post brought a great idea to light that I will have to share with my father. He has a small business (auto repair shop) and he bought the”building” they are in. He has a huge conference room along with a good size office that have remained unused all this time. It could be an awesome arrangement for him to rent out that space to another small business to use since it could help make the mortgage. I will have to bring the idea up to him.

  • http://godmadehomegrown.blogspot.com Tiana

    This is what we’re praying for! My husband is so tired of spending so much time away from us…please pray that God would show us a way for him to have his own business from home. God Bless!

  • Mary

    Great post to encourage us to adapt instead of being discouraged. We have a three season room that we converted into my husbands office. Our main bedroom separates it from the house. Our kids love having Dad at home. We did it for the same reason, to stop paying an expensive rent. It has worked well for us. In our old home we looked into to adding on a room but it was very expensive. Best to you as you adjust to the home with your business.

  • maudie smith

    Awesome! We just wish we could think of something to do from home.

  • http://mamawally.blogspot.com Debbie

    My husband just recently lost his job and is now hoping to start his own business. We’re looking forward to having more family time and are excited for this new adventure. I’d love to see him with a little outbuilding for his work space, some day.

    Your posts about your business are such an inspiration. Thank you!!

  • http://www.kendavis.com Joy Groblebe

    Love this post! I work from home which allows me to also be a stay at home mom and I think it’s great! Some days are nuts…but how fabulous that I get to be with my kids and still supply one of our incomes. It’s definitely the best of both worlds…oh ya….and I worked in my pajamas until 10am today. :)

  • Paul Emery

    Thanks for sharing this information Chris.

    Currently I’m in school working towards getting a degree in the medical field, first as a RN, and then if the LORD allows moving on to becoming a P.A. One of the benefits of being a P.A. is it would allow me to have a practice attached to my home. We will see what doors the LORD opens.

  • http://busyhandsbusyminds.blogspot.com Anita Chamblee

    My husband’s home business studio is in our bedroom. When he is recording we must all be quiet!! Not easy with a large family and a few littles. We have started a barn/office on our property, but haven’t had the funds to complete it. If my husband ever makes his home business full-time we would have to get it finished quickly. I am encouraged that you make it with your large family in 2200 sq ft. We have just over 2300 sq. ft and have 6 children still at home. We just moved the two year old in with the big boys. Four boys in one room seemed a little crowded. Not so much now!

  • http://www.LargeFamiliesOnPurpose.blogspot.com Bob

    Some years ago I was a regional manager for a large multi-national company and after 9-11 they closed our local regional office. I went through a similar change as what you’re describing less the title “owner”. At the time we were living in a two bed apartment and so my “office had to be in the main living room of the house and if I needed to be on a conference call etc. then I just had to leave the house for a while.

    My first reaction to your story and to mine initially was “sounds like a little piece of heaven” to be home with my family all day. However, I became more and more aware of a problem that I labeled “being home and unavailable” and I hated it. It really hurt to have to shoo one of my own children away because of the guy on the other end of a little copper wire. I needed to change this….. some how. Eventually we set up a little workstation in the master bedroom and we just redefined the day for the kids. We would have breakfast etc. and then I would “go to work”. Obviously the kids knew I was in there but it did ease things a bit to be behind a closed door and in a room that the kids dont normally have access to.

    Eventually I convinced my boss to rent a little office space in the basement of a small light industrial building and that really helped. I really missed the extra little moments with the family but I didnt miss the stress that was created by being home in body but not in mind and spirit.

    Thanks for the post Chris, I hope that changes help your business to remain solvent into the future.